Riding a massive gear and maintaining a cadence considerably lower than cyclists consider necessary for record attempts, Canadian triathlete Lionel Sanders shattered the one hour record at the Milton velodrome today.
Before the race Sanders said he wanted to try and beat the standard Jens Voigt set when the rules for one-hour record attempts were revised in 2014 – Voigt rode 51.110 in Switzerland.
Sanders did that and more. He broke Ed Veal’s Canadian record of 48.587 by the time he hit the 57 minute mark, and went on to ride 51.304 km by the time he finished the 60-minute ride. Veal set the previous record in 2017, also at the Milton velodrome.
For the record-setting performance Sanders rode a modified Canyon Speedmax frame with Hed disc wheels. He used a 61-tooth front chain ring with a 13-tooth rear cog, and appeared to average a cadence of just under 90.
“That was a very painful effort,” Sanders said after the event. “It was great. I live for this stuff. This feels like my first race of the season. It feels good to push myself to the limit.”
“The first 30 mins were not bad,” Sanders continued. “The pain was significant over the second half. I had hoped to push more over the last 10 minutes, but there was nothing more. I think that means I had my pacing right.”
Sanders also hinted that he both anticipates other athletes looking to take the record in the near future, and that he’d also like to make another attempt some time in the future.
“Records are meant to be broken,” he said. “I hope someone does, and I hope that someone does that soon. I would love to try that at altitude, but that’s a project for another off-season.”
Sanders will now set his sights on two big races in December – he’ll compete at the Professional Triathletes Organisation Championship at Challenge Daytona, where he is the defending men’s champion, then a few days later he’ll represent Canada at the first UCI Esports world championship.
With Daytona in mind, Sanders set a new 5 km personal best just a week ago, running 14:34.
“I have to be in the best bike and run form I can be in to have any shot at that race,” Sanders said of the race in Florida.
The UCI worlds will require a completely different type of effort, Sanders said.
“That is a really different event – you have to be able to push 700+ watts for a minute and a half (at the end) to have any shot at that.”
Belgium’s Victor Campenaerts set the current world record of 55.089 km at the Aguascelientes velodrome in Mexico in April 2019. Both Campenaerts and Great Britain’s Alex Dowsett, another former world record holder, were watching the live coverage of today’s race.